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Old 03-25-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
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Exclamation Tankless fires up when toilet flushed

OK, got a good one. This one has been bugging me since we got into NM last night. The tankless water heater fires up when using only cold water in the bathroom. I just narrowed it down to the culprit with the wife's help...the toilet. I have visually verified that the toilet was connected to the cold water, and not hot so all good there. When you flush and then release the foot peddle on the toilet it sets off the tankless water heater. The actual flush does not set it off, it is when you let off the peddle. The fan kicks on and you can hear the igniter popping off. Not sure if it actually lights or not but I don't hear a flame. Anyone run into this before?? Is this a problem with the water flow switch within the water heater that is getting "tricked" into thinking where is water movement when water abruptly stops in the cold line? Water supply is set at 60psi. Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions??
Bob
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:59 PM   #2
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I know the tankless water heater requires 45psi to function properly, have you tried reducing the water pressure down to 50 or 55psi to see if the problem persists?
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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I have experienced the same problem with the toilet. Also, I can not get the tankless water heater to work right. Have tried everything, including removing the restrictors in the faucets and adding an accumulator. I also bypassed the high/low switch per factory recommendations and purged all the air out of the lines, but it is either too hot or goes from hot to cold. It is really bad when using the internal pump. I am ready to have the camper retrofitted with the good old standby tank heater. It also wastes a lot of water trying to get the right temp.

Frustrated,

John
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestion, Oakman. Tried dropping pressure down to both 55 and 50. Same problem, bummer. Interestingly enough the problem exists with the bathroom faucet as well not just the toilet. Not sure if the wife turned the cold water off slow and that prevented the tankless from kicking off, but when I shut it off, the tankless kicks off.
We also had a problem where the water was scaulding hot with the hot water turned on full blast in the shower this morning. Tried to add a touch of cold water (even though it says not to) and all the water went freezing cold. We are going to try switching from Auto to Low tomorrow morning and see if that gets us some cooler hot water. I wish there was a way to adjust the temp of the water coming out of the tankless instead of just relying on controling the hot water flow.

This is our first real use of our camper since we bought it last Sept, but I don't remember encountering any of these issues. The tankless is not well suited for washing dishes in the kitchen area either. The constant on again, off again is causing us to have to purge cold water out of the line before hot water comes out the faucet is frustrating. I don't know how the water can cool off that quickly in that short amount of time, but it seems to be happening in the kitchen sink. I also checked the outdoor shower to make sure it was off and it is. Not sure where else the cold and hot water could be mixing that could be causing this.

We are also considering getting a standard heater to fit in the tankless spot if we can't get this resolved. Nothing ruins a trip like having problems with the hot water. John, thanks for the info about the accumulator. I was wondering if that would help...sounds like that is a dud to.
Bob
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:51 PM   #5
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A tankless hot water heater does not store any water. It works on demand. You turn on the hot water tap, a sensor determines water flow and turns on the flame. The slower the water flow through the heater, the hotter the water output. This is usually adjustable; the slower the water flow thru the heater the hotter the output. There should also be a high limit switch to shut the flame down if it gets to hot. In my opinion, the small water pumps that we use do not have the volume to properly control a tankless water heater. Hooked up to a camp ground water system should handle the tankless demands. However, you better be hooked up to the sewage system because a tankless system uses a lot of water.

Concerning the toilet activating the tankless heater. Try shutting the toilet pedal slowly and see if it activates the heater. Bet it doesn't. Shutting the pedal quickly is causing a simple water hammer effect on all the plastic hosing that is giving a pressure pulse into the heater and activating the flow sensor.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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I'm guessing these problems are exactly why Wildcat now offers the tankless water heater as an option rather than standard equipment. My wife's nephew has a Sterling model and he absolutely hates the tankless water heater. He's been considering have it replaced with the standard six gallon water heater.

I think the tankless water heater is one of those ideas that look great on paper, but fail miserably in a real world application.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:04 AM   #7
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Most likely what's happening is that when you flush the toilet you're lowering the system pressure and conversely backing a little water out of the hot side of the system. Then as soon as you release the foot pedal it suddenly spikes the pressure in the system causing water to flow through the heater repressurizing the hot water side of the system thereby causing it to think there's water flow for a second or two and it tries to start. A check valve just past the heater on the hot water side might help a little.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:06 PM   #8
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I tried the suggestion of gently releasing the foot pedal on the crapper and same problem. It is right at the point that the water shuts off you hear the thunk and that sets off the water heater. Everytime I try to gently release the pedal it slams home so to speak right at the end. I think it is gotta be related to a water hammer effect.

On a hunch from Bama's comments, I watched our water pressure drop a good 10psi when the toilet is flushed or when a faucet is openned. It then returns to starting pressure when water stops flowing.

Looks like setting the tankless on Low fixed our scoulding water problem during a shower. We could only open the hot water about 1/2 turn to get good hot water, any more than that and we would get luke warm water. Thank goodness my dealer got us the upgraded shower head...stock one sucked under full pressure, could only imagine the flow with a half turn!! This is turning out to be more trouble than it is worth...probably couldn't get FR to goodwill a water heater to fix this "forced awesome option" we had to get. Definitely glad others now have a choice between this not so green option and a regular water heater setup. Hopefully we can stuff a 10 gallon in place of the tankless, had no problems with 10 gallons on our last rig. Knowing my luck we probably cannot though.

Other than this we really do love the rig, it is the best when compared to our previous two rigs.

Bob
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:18 PM   #9
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Maybe a pressure tank?
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:30 AM   #10
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Arrow Some advice from our supplier...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4man View Post
OK, got a good one. This one has been bugging me since we got into NM last night. The tankless water heater fires up when using only cold water in the bathroom. I just narrowed it down to the culprit with the wife's help...the toilet. I have visually verified that the toilet was connected to the cold water, and not hot so all good there. When you flush and then release the foot peddle on the toilet it sets off the tankless water heater. The actual flush does not set it off, it is when you let off the peddle. The fan kicks on and you can hear the igniter popping off. Not sure if it actually lights or not but I don't hear a flame. Anyone run into this before?? Is this a problem with the water flow switch within the water heater that is getting "tricked" into thinking where is water movement when water abruptly stops in the cold line? Water supply is set at 60psi. Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions??
Bob
Bob, I spoke to our water heater supplier, Jerry Rennert, a representative from Girard. Here's what he had to say:

Quote:
What is happening is the Water Heater burner is not starting but the Water Heater fan is coming on. The flow switch is being activated enough to trip the blower motor. The blower will run for about 90 seconds and then shut off.

The cause of this scenario there is air in a water line (hot or cold). Some things to do:
- Purge all cold and hot water lines of air (including outside shower).
- Do the purge on both pump and city fill (they may have been on one water source and now the other water source)

If it still does it have them call our tech support:
1.866.559.1221 (toll free)
Please also look at this informative page on their web site:
FAQ’s - Girard Products, LLC | Girard Tankless RV Water Heater | Tankless RV Water Heater FAQs | Frequently Asked RV Water Heater Questions | RV Water Heaters
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